Books read, January 2015

This is belated on account of Own Book Eating Brain. This is also rather short on account of Own Book Eating Brain. And possibly shorter still on account of Own Book Eating Brain and Making Me Forget to Record Things. What I’m trying to say is, I didn’t read much in January (apart from some research stuff I’m not listing here), and I don’t remember half of what I read, so I’m having to recreate this post facto.

The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake, Eugie Foster. Last of Foster’s short story collections that I picked up after she passed away. Many of the things in here are folktale-ish, but not all; there’s one story (“The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile”) about a robot, that doesn’t quite fit in tonally with the rest, and the others show a broader range in both tone and cultural source than Returning My Sister’s Face did. Since the folktale-ish stories are what I like best of Foster’s work, I was less pleased with this one than the other, but it still had some material I quite enjoyed.

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss. I talked about the gender aspect here, but didn’t really say much about the book itself. I’m not sure how to say this without it coming across as a condemnation, which I do not intend, but: dear god Kvothe is the Mary Suest Mary Sue to ever Mary Sue. From now on, every time somebody complains about a female protagonist being an unrealistic Mary Sue, I want to hand them a copy of this novel with a post-it note on the cover saying “Your argument is invalid.” There is nothing wrong with occasionally wanting to enjoy a story about a hypercompetent super-genius; the wrongness or rightness of it should not change based on gender.

. . . I just went back to the gender thing, didn’t I. Um. I like Rothfuss’ world; the stuff with sygaldry and sympathy and naming is intriguing, and I am a sucker for that kind of thing. So ranting aside, I did enjoy this. (I wouldn’t have finished reading it if I didn’t.) Ranting once more calculated into the equation, though, I’m not sure whether I’ll read the second book or not.

Unbound, Jim Hines. Third of the Magic Ex Libris series, and ye GODS do not start here, because this is the culmination of a bunch of stuff from the first two books, Libriomancer and Codex Born. I do recommend it, though, if you like the kind of series that first presents you with an idea and then starts looking at it from different angles and breaking it and gluing it back together in new ways. Also, Hines deserves cookies for the single most awesome cipher concept I think I have ever seen. Watching Isaac work his way through that thing made me really wish I could see the text itself, just to appreciate the beauty of its design.

. . . that’s all I can remember, anyway. That may be all there was. Not a lot of spare brain in January, is what I’m saying.

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